Hodges Returns to the Staggers

Guido understands that Dan Hodges is returning to the New Statesman. The move comes weeks after his old foe Mehdi Hasan was “promoted” to the Huffington Post. Guido is told he’ll be an occasional columnist. Ed will love that…

UPDATE: Guido has just spoken to Hodges, who confirms he will continue to write for the Telegraph while contributing fortnightly to the New Statesman magazine.

New Statesman Declining into Irrelevance

A few years ago the New Statesman withdrew from having circulation for the print edition independently audited by the industry’s Audit Bureau of Circulation. This caused a lot of raised eyebrows in the trade. Guido has managed to get his hands on the newsstand sales figures for the two years up until March this year. The numbers are dire.

The data above says it all, the sales decline has continued, some weeks the New Statesman sells less than 4,000 copies. By way of comparison Guido’s blog usually has 4,000 readers a day before the Today show has a finished in the morning. This figure does not include subscribers, Guido suspects that may not even number into five figures.

Online nothing has changed since 2009, Guido still has comfortably more online readers than the Staggers. Incidentally tracking data suggests that a fair number of Staggers readers are Guido readers, this site is the ninth most visited site by Staggers readers – despite the magazine’s policy of not linking to this site.

The relative decline of the Staggers versus the Speccie suggests that it is not just because the printed magazine business is in trouble. The Speccie has a paywall yet still has more online visitors than the Staggers, the Speccie sells an online edition, the Statesman does not.

The problems at the magazine are manifold, readers are increasingly unwilling to pay for comment unless it done with panache, yet they got rid of the flamboyant Dan Hodges. There is a distinct lack of news in the magazine, Labour HQ has just experienced a near mutiny, something that would be of great interest to the natural readership of the Staggers and would in the past have been covered in forensic detail. Nothing appeared in the magazine. The only “news” in the magazine that you have not read elsewhere is usually found in Kevin Maguire’s gossip diary.

Mehdi’s Muddle on Iran’s ‘Bombastic’ President

Followers on Twitter will have enjoyed many, many Twitterspats between Guido and the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan. They follow a familiar pattern with Mehdi usually citing someone who wrote something in the New York Times once and then calling Guido stupid for disagreeing. He’ll often write an article that no one reads in the Staggers “proving” his point.  

Last week he wrote a 1000 word response to a tweet Guido did about bombing Iran’s nuclear programme. Normally Guido can’t be bothered to respond in kind at length. This time an article in response is up on The Commentator.

Labour HQ’s Cheltenham Loser

Following the car crash of a staff meeting on Monday at Labour HQ, staff were further outraged to learn the reason Iain McNicol was not in the office the following day (Tuesday) was, in true David Brent fashion, that he had gone to the races at Cheltenham.

Talking of Charles Allen, one staff member tells Guido

“it is complete disgrace that the NEC has allowed an ex-Goldman Sachs advisor to take over the party, be appointed the Chair of the Executive Board and in effect be the General Secretary in all but name, as Iain McNicol has proved to be such a numpty and not up to the job.”

Comrades, comrades, where is the love?

UPDATE: Over at the New Statesman – which in its heyday would have been all over a developing story like this about trouble in Labour HQ – Mehdi Hasan is complaining that Guido and his former colleague and bitter rival Dan Hodges are getting the scoops that people want to read whilst he is just wails on about Iran and Israel. If Ed Miliband’s biographer wasn’t such a patsy for the Labour leadership he would be reporting the story rather than exhorting Labour to sack our sources. 

An extraordinary stance for a journalist – to want to silence whistleblowers..

Ed’s Guru Glasman Goes For Jugular

Ed Miliband seems to have missed out on those popular few months that even Gordon managed to achieve in the summer of 2007 and has gone straight to the continual leadership crisis stage. Just when Guido thought the Don’t Unseat Ed Miliband Association had got through a successful day of defeating the traitors, Ed’s own guru Maurice Glasman pops up with his Staggers column. The Kray brother lookalike has given Ed two barrels, telling him  “to show some leadership”:

“There seems to be no strategy, no narrative and little energy. Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the shadow cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour’s record in all the wrong ways – we didn’t spend too much money, we’ll cut less fast and less far, but we can’t tell you how. But we have not won, and show no signs of winning, the economic argument. We have not articulated a constructive alternative capable of recognising our weaknesses in government and taking the argument to the coalition. We show no relish for reconfiguring the relationship between the state, the market and society. Ed . . . has not broken through. He has flickered rather than shone, nudged not led.”

How is that for gratitude? Ed might want to think twice about who he puts in the Lords next time. If there is a next time…

UPDATE: Glasman ends his article with: “And we all need to show him love and support in return. I’m backing Ed Miliband.” That should smooth feathers over in Ed’s office this afternoon!

UPDATE II: Glasman has a pop at Ed’s ideological and spiritual father too:

“The problem with Brownite political economy is that, even though it was true that a 3% deficit was not excessive in the context of economic growth, it was debt that was growing at the time, rather than the real economy. A vast, sustained expansion in private debt fuelled the financial sector throughout Brown’s tenure as chancellor and then prime minister”.

Guardian Hack: “I’m a Dodger”

A classic snippet from Kevin Maguire’s column that Guido thought deserved more than New Statesman’s niche, and still declining, audience:

“Boris Johnson’s pledge to take the last of London’s bendy buses off the road by Christmas could prove costly for Zoe Williams, the Mayor of London’s foe-in-chief at the Guardian.Williams, I discovered, is a self-confessed fare dodger. Your columnist’s eye was directed to a hitherto overlooked admission in the pages of her rag. “I actually had a lot of affection for bendy buses, mainly because evading your fare was so easy that to pay was almost missing the point,” wrote Williams in May. “We used to call it ‘freebussing’. I said that to the photographer and she said: ‘But they only came in a few years ago. You weren’t 12 . . . You weren’t even a student. You were . . .’ I was 31. Can I be arrested for saying this? Ach, I will just pretend it was a joke.”

Do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do from a Guardian hack? Well, well. Perhaps Rusbridger can use the same “it was just a joke” line when it comes to their investment and tax affairs

Dan Hodges Joins Telegraph
Confirms Guido’s Scoop

After a bidding war across the mainstream media blogs, Dan Hodges has signed up to the Telegraph, which is sure to put a few noses out of joint.

“On Thursday morning I got a call from Throatdeep. There had been “an editorial meeting”. This, I knew, was bad. No good ever came from editorial meetings.

The party “incident” had been discussed. Ed’s team were apparently unhappy. Their people had been talking to our people. Three issues had been identified: me and Ralph Nader; the fact that week’s interview between Ed Miliband and Mehdi Hasan hadn’t been featured prominently on the front of the magazine”

He’s blown open the truth about why he left the New Statesman, leaving Ed’s office and the Staggers with red faces:

“And that was it. I shook hands with Throatdeep, in that awkward way men do when they know their paths are diverging. I should give it until Friday, he said. That was fine, I responded. Unless he heard from me, he should take it I’d resigned.

And resign I did. In that dignified and time-honoured manner so beloved of Westminster insiders: the story was leaked to Guido Fawkes.

Did I jump? Was I pushed? Did I flounce? The answer to all three is yes.”

Ed Miliband’s press office tweeted a public denial of any pressure from them:

Hodges has left some parts of the story in code. So Guido thought he would decrypt them for you:

  • “One long-serving staff member” – Mehdi Hasan
  • ThroatDeep – Obviously Jon Bernstein
  • Ms. OrangeTotal Politics political editor Amber Elliott.

Guido won’t hold his breath for an apology after the New Statesman trashed his story at the beginning of the week. He’ll let you be the judge…

Today’s Staggers Cover

Ed to Staggers: Rid Me of This Turbulent Hodges

The NewStatesman’s party on the Sunday of Labour conference usually sees the party leader turn up and glad-hand the great and the good. This year Ed walked in one door and walked out the other door barely stopping to shake […]

+ READ MORE +

Couldn’t Organise A…

Rather optimistically this email has just gone out to Tory and LibDem MPs:

Dear Colleagues

We will be sending you an invitation to Labour Party Conference Events shortly.

Most grateful,

From the Office of
Geoffrey Robinson MP
Chairman
New Statesman

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Quote of the Day

Prediction by New Statesman’s James Macintyre made 6 May, 2010…

“I predict that David Cameron, having failed to convince an intelligent electorate that he has fundamentally changed his party, will fail to form a government this week and will never
[…]

+ READ MORE +

“Make It Up” Macintyre Tweets Another “Exclusive”

James Macintyre no longer has a column in the New Statesman in which to share his insights. He now has only his Twitter to pass on wisdom. Yesterday he had a ground breaking “Twitter Exclusive” revealing that Gordon’s […]

+ READ MORE +



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